Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Booker, Menendez Endorse Fellow Democrat Murphy for Governor

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Booker, Menendez Endorse Fellow Democrat Murphy for Governor

Article excerpt

Both of New Jersey's top Democratic elected officials endorsed Phil Murphy, the former U.S. ambassador to Germany and ex-Goldman Sachs executive, for governor on Monday, attempting to add even more momentum to a campaign that has already won the support of the state's 21 Democratic county chairmen.

"Are we ready to reclaim New Jersey's future?" shouted U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez at one point during the news conference at Murphy's campaign headquarters in Newark. "Are we ready to elect Phil Murphy as the next governor?"

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker appeared alongside Menendez, and the pair praised Murphy as a strong leader who could jump-start New Jersey's economy and stand up for progressive causes during a Trump presidency. Murphy, standing nearby, at one point appeared overcome with emotion. The audience included his wife and eldest son, as well as some of the political elite who are trying to clear Murphy a path to victory in the June primaries and the general election five months later.

"If we have anything to say about it in Newark and Essex County, that's what's going to happen," said Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, speaking before the senators. He gestured toward the Essex County Democratic Committee chairman, LeRoy Jones, sitting in the front row.

Murphy is the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination in a field that includes longtime Assemblyman John Wisniewski and, as of last week, Sen. Ray Lesniak, the second-longest serving member of the Legislature. Despite their government service, both lawmakers are trying to position themselves as outsiders running against the Democratic machine.

But each endorsement Murphy receives makes his opponents' task that much harder, exacerbated further still by Murphy's ability to spend. Murphy has pledged to donate $10 million to his own campaign.

"I'll be the governor who at every turn makes decisions based on what's best for the next generation in this state, not what's best for my next election," Murphy said Monday. …

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